This month, I talked my friend Rachel about patience. Ever since I’ve known her, I’ve always thought she radiated patience and trust. I absolutely love what she says in the interview — some seriously wise words — and I hope you do too!
1. Describe a time or two in your life when you had to exhibit a lot of patience.
It’s funny to think back on times when I guess I have exhibited patience, because at the time, I didn’t know I was being patient. That’s the trick, I guess. I remember these times and realize I was being patient in some respects, but during those times I was just dealing with whatever each day brought me.
As an outsider, some might say a time I had to be patient were the years of dating my husband (waiting for a proposal). I know that I was anxious and excited and even sometimes impatient as we spent those years getting to know each other, hoping that the proposal would come at any moment. I think that yes, in some respects I was patient because I did wait 3 1/2 years for that proposal. But mostly, it wasn’t about being patient. It was about embracing each day, experience, trial, joy, moment that lead up to the proposal. I had such a strong sense that God was working things out in us and preparing us for an extraordinary marriage…and that was enough. I think as women, we get so caught up in the idea that a proposal or getting married is the end goal, when that idea robs us of the real treasure: the journey. Of course I was anxious to get married like any woman is…but I think I realized on a deeper level that I was losing if I wasn’t embracing those moments every day that lead up to the proposal and that would continue after. In those years that I was being “patient” I learned more about myself and my husband than I could have hoped for. People would say to me “wow you are really patient waiting for him for so long”…To that I would say, “I am so lucky that my husband had the wisdom to know that our proposal or wedding day were not the goal and that building a strong foundation in the Lord and each other was the real goal.” It is because of those foundational years that our marriage is so solid. I love my husband and I am so grateful for his wisdom.
2. In what situations do you find yourself least patient? How does that manifest itself (short temper, lack of grace, etc.)?
Anytime I begin to focus on whatever it is I want, instead of the Lord, I become impatient. That may manifest itself in many ways but the most common is that I try to manipulate situations and make things happen for myself. This always ends with extreme discontentment or disappointment. The prize is always sweeter when I can wait on the Lord.
This was recently displayed to me in the last year while trying to conceive with my husband for our first child. After being overjoyed with getting pregnant, I lost the baby at 8 weeks along. After suffering heartache and loss, he blessed us again with a now healthy pregnancy. I am 22 weeks along and everything looks great. God has showed me through this time, that I was not trusting in Him, instead I was trying to control my world. That is not how I want to raise our child. This experience alone has shown me how much more I need to trust in Him.
3. How has your heart changed over the years because you’ve had to be so patient?
I think practicing patience helps me open my heart and mind to new possibilities and perspectives. Sometimes, while we focus and wait on the thing we want, God reveals a whole new plan or idea. That has been a reward for me time and time again. What I think I want usually isn’t what God had for me in the first place. It’s always much better.
4. Most people would say they want more patience in their lives. How would you encourage them?
Stop focusing on being patient. Pray. Ask God to sift through your mind and heart and remove the thoughts and emotions that dont belong or are harmful to you. You will see your focus and perspective change. Don’t pray for the thing you want, pray for the better gift God has in store.
5. Anything else you’d like to talk about in regards to patience?
When I am left to my own thoughts and devices, I am extremely impatient. I am like a child. It is only when I trust God, that I am able to exhibit any patience at all…and that is a daily struggle.